The legendary Leonard Cohen has given rise to a legendary local event in his honour: the annual Feast of Cohen. It’s a 3-hour evening of local musicians covering their favourite songs from the man’s 50-year career.

Now held in the month of the man’s birth, the event is in its 16th year, and will be presented by Vicky Hynes and hosted by Des Walsh, with Sandy Morris & The Beautiful Losers Band: Derek Pelley, Boomer Stamp, Kelly Russell, Dave & Geoff Panting.

It will feature performances by regulars Jill Porter, Bryan Hennessey, Lori Cooper, Sean Panting, and Jenny Gear, and, as always, the festival incorporates emerging talent in the province. Last year, rising stars like Steve Maloney, Kat McClevey, and Aley Waterman took the stage.

“It is a great showcase for new artists interpreting the songs of the old master,” says Hynes. This year’s special guest performers are Ken Tizzard, Ilia Nicoll, Victor Lewis, Emma Peckford, Gavin Simms, and Jenina MacGillivray.

“I started listening to Leonard Cohen when I was young,” says MacGillivray, “and his lyrics and his voice were so full of longing and beauty and sex and all these amazing images, they woke me up. I was this kid living in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, and I wanted to be Suzanne.”

“I wanted to feed someone tea and oranges that come all the way from China. There’s a passage about scars in The Favorite Game that has stayed with me since I read it twenty years ago. I always wonder what songs people will choose, which Cohen song speaks to them.”

“I wanted to do ‘Everybody Knows’ but the band let me change it at the last minute because it seemed too dark, suddenly, for where I am in my life right now. I was thrilled when Vicky asked me to be part of it this year. Can’t wait.”

The event takes place September 19th at the Arts & Culture Centre. Tickets are $50.